If you haven’t heard me talk about fermented foods and probiotics then we need to have a chat. If there is one thing that you can do to help your body right now, it is to start incorporating fermented foods into your diet.
So let’s start by talking about what fermented foods are and why they are safe to eat. When you ferment foods, they undergo a process called lactofermentation, which involves natural bacteria feeding on the sugar and starch in the food and creating lactic acid. During this process, the food is preserved and beneficial enzymes are created as well as B vitamins and various strains of probiotics. Being able to make your own sources of vitamins and minerals is super helpful because let’s get real, who can afford all of the supplements out there? If you can, feel free to send some my way
So why do we need probiotics? Our gut health is so important for our overall health, and probiotics improve our gut health by increasing the good bacteria in our gut. When there are too many bad guys and not enough good guys in your gut, this is called gut dybiosis. Some of these bad guys include bacteria, yeast, and sometimes parasites. When you use antibiotics or eat a diet high in refined and processed foods, your healthy bacteria will suffer and the bad bacteria will take over. The bad guys wreak havoc on the body creating IBS, IBD, damaging the mucosal layer of the gastrointestinal tract, etc. When this happens your immune system becomes activated and the response is inflammation, food sensitivities, and a variety of other health problems.
A healthy gut is paramount for a healthy body, your gut health affects your digestion, your mood, your energy levels, your sleep, your brain health by producing brain chemicals and communicating with nerves that connect to the brain, and so much more. A majority of your serotonin is made in your gut, so a healthy functioning gut contributes to mood, specifically anxiety, depression, and focus.
Beneficial bacteria also play a role in your body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals, regulate hormones, produce vitamins, and eliminate toxins more effectively. A healthy gut can also help with proper weight management.
With that being said, you have to be cautious about what types of fermented foods you purchase. The best way to ensure that you are getting quality fermented foods is to make it yourself. The second best way is to go to a health food store and buy them there. Typical sauerkraut from a mainstream grocery store will not have the benefits you are looking for as it is pasteurized and processed. As well, when you look for kombucha you want to make sure that the sugar content is low, close to 1-5g if possible. If there is too much sugar its no longer providing the benefits you want.
What are some great fermented options?
While all of these options are amazing, I love anything that is foolproof and easy peasy so I am going to introduce you to fermented coconut yogurt.
The process is unbelievably simple, all you have to do is empty the powder of two probiotic capsules and a can of full-fat coconut milk into a jar. The most important step here is to not stir the coconut milk with a metal spoon, use wood or plastic as metal reacts with the probiotics. Once you’ve stirred it up you can put cheesecloth or paper towel on top and secure with an elastic band (again no metal) and set it aside for 1-2 days. I always do 2 days and it turns out great (if you live in a warm house you may want to only do 1 day). After 1-2 days put the yogurt in the fridge and let it chill. When you are ready to eat it mix in syrup or honey if you want to sweeten it, or feel free to eat it plain.
It is important to not cheap out on the coconut milk for these. Depending on where you live the brands change so if you need a suggestion let me know!
I have tried a couple of different probiotics to make this and it definitely is important to get a good probiotic as well. I have been using Genuine Health Probiotics and love love love them. I could get into explaining all the different brands but I find when you find a good one stick, with it.
Alright! So there is your foolproof way to incorporate probiotics into your diet starting today! Seriously, just go to the store right now and get yourself some coconut milk and probiotics and make your body happy! Keep me posted on how it goes! I would love to see your creations!